Live Blog: Updates from Albany’s legislative session

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Munson-Pool/Getty Images)

With key votes expected to come down on multiple bills in Albany, PIX11 reporter Marvin Scott is at the legislative session with up-to-the-minute updates:


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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York leaders have reached an agreement to legalize
medical marijuana in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Thursday the drug will be for severely ill patients.

The drug would be administered by doctors under the direction of the state’s
health department.

The “Compassionate Care Act” negotiated by Cuomo and lawmakers
doesn’t allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked – one of Cuomo’s key
demands. It can be administered through an oil-base or vaporizer.

A vote on the legislation is expected Thursday night.

Sen. Diane Savino, one of the bill sponsors, says marijuana can be
prescribed for at least six diseases, including epilepsy, AIDS, ALS and neuropathy.

The program won’t start for at least 18 months, with five regulated
organizations allowed to grow the drug in the state and operate four
dispensaries each.

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The bill would not allow smoking of the drug and “comes with a fundamental fail safe,” Cuomo says.

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Cuomo: Delay Common Core teacher evaluations

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says teachers shouldn’t lose their jobs simply because their students performed poorly on the state’s new Common Core tests — at least for a few years.

The Democrat proposed legislation Thursday that would change how test scores are used in evaluations to prevent teachers deemed “ineffective” or “developing” from facing termination or a denial of tenure based solely on student test scores.

The changes would apply to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.

State teachers union president Karen Magee says Cuomo’s proposal is a “reset button” that ensures teachers won’t be unfairly judged based on the controversial new standards.

Lawmakers voted earlier this year to keep Common Core test scores off student transcripts through 2018.

Lawmakers expect to consider Cuomo’s legislation before adjourning Thursday.

Jeremy Tanner June 19, 20142:44 PM

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Jeremy Tanner June 19, 20142:42 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (PIX11) — Racing against the clock to wrap up their session sometime today, the state legislature is plodding through a number of bills for quick passage. But two items have them still without agreement — legalization of medical marijuana, and the manner in  which teachers are evaluated.

Governor Cuomo canceled an 11 a.m. radio appearance to meet with legislative leaders in an effort to resolve outstanding differences on the marijuana measure.  The Governor doesn’t want it to be administered in any smoke-able form. Sponsors insist it is the fastest way to relieve pain of patients, particularly those with terminal cancer. 

The Assembly approved the measure and the Senate appeared to have enough votes to pass it, until the Governor said he would veto the bill unless there were changes. 

Sources say some progress has been made in negotiations and the measure is likely to be put to a vote in a session many expect will run until midnight or later.